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Talented cricketer dies from leukaemia
9:04am Wednesday 11th December 2013 in News
Those were the last words Rob George said to his dad Philip before he died.
Rob, 21, a popular member of Colchester and East Essex Cricket Club, died after a long fight with leukaemia.
He leaves mum and dad, Lorraine and Philip, and brothers Tom and Sam.
Mum Lorraine described Rob as the bravest man you could know.
She said: “Rob coped with the challenge of facing the end of his life just as he did the challenge of leukaemia – with courage, calmness and bravery.
“Rob and I had planned to cycle John O’Groats to Lands End after his treatment to help get him fit for the cricket season.
“Now I’ll cycle alone, I’ll call it Rob’s Ride. At least I’ll be able to go a little slower than Rob had intended.
“We have lost him and are heartbroken, but he was as courageous a young man as you will ever come across.”
Lorraine said Rob never complained or moaned.
She said: “He may very occasionally have said: ‘Mum, it is not fair’ but never ‘why me?’ “I don’t know how I would have dealt with it had it been me, but it would not have even been close to how Rob dealt with it.
“His last words to his dad were ‘be happy’.
“He was extraordinarily courageous. He made a difference.”
Rob, a former Colchester High, Colchester Royal Grammar School and Loughborough University student, was diagnosed with leukaemia on June 24, 2011.
He returned to university after successful treatment, but was told it had returned two years later.
A rare protein in his blood meant it was difficult to find a bone marrow donor.
About 400 people attended a session in Castle Park in September, organised by Colchester and East Essex Cricket Club, the Anthony Nolan Trust and his family, to try to find a match.
Tragically, no match could be found in time.
Colchester and East Essex Cricket Club announced his passing on its Facebook page.
It said: “It is with great sadness we have to report Rob George, 1st XI cricketer and son of the club president Philip George, passed away at 1.30am after a long and courageous battle with leukaemia.
“Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”
Rob, who also played at Colchester Golf Club, was due to start cord blood match treatment until his condition worsened.
He was being treated at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, but was told in late October there was no hope left.
He spent the last few weeks of his life at St Helena Hospice.
His dad, Philip, is a former managing partner at Birkett Long solicitors and his mum, Lorraine, runs the Lorraine George School of Dance, in Colchester.
TRIBUTES have flooded in to promising cricketer Rob George.
The fast bowler started playing regular senior cricket for Colchester and East Essex in the last year or so and was pushing for a place until the leukaemia returned.
Andrew Kennedy, cricket club chairman, said Rob had a lot of talent and was confident he would have been in the first team for ten or 15 years.
He said: “In the past few weeks, everyone has been talking to him on social network sites.
“He was tremendously committed and would travel back from Loughborough to play.
He was happy-go-lucky and did not have an enemy in the world.”
First team captain Joe Barnett said Rob was an inspiration to everyone at the club.
He said: “He never complained and acted with impeccable dignity. The way he handled himself in times of adversity is testament to his character and is an example for us all.
“He was a great bowler and a good batsman.
“I am sure he will be cheering the boys on every time they take the field and I’m sure they will endeavour to succeed on his behalf.
“Most importantly, and in his memory, we must encourage more people to sign up with the Anthony Nolan Trust, because the problem was he could not find a donor in time.”
Joe said the club’s thoughts were with Rob’s family.
He said: “They have lost a wonderful son and brother and we have lost an exceptional cricketer and even better friend.”
Henny Braund, chief executive of the Anthony Nolan Trust, said: “Rob was a brave and remarkable young man.
“The manner in which he dealt with his illness, the warmth and strength he showed throughout, marked him out as a special person.
“We are very sad indeed to hear of his death and deeply grateful for all of the support he gave us.
“We send our sincerest, most heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”
ROB’S brother Sam has written a song and is donating the proceeds to Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
Sam George wrote and performed Broken, using his brother Rob as inspiration. Speaking before his brother’s death, he said: “The song is inspired by my little brother, who is battling cancer for a second time.
“He has got leukaemia.
“He has beaten it once, but it has come back. I was inspired by his strength in dealing with the situation, not letting himself be broken by it.”
The song will be released on January 6 and will be available to download. The family hope those who download may pay a little more because the moneywill fund research to stop another family losing a loved one so young.
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